Michigan Public Radio Network

Kirtland's warbler comes off endangered list

Oct 9, 2019

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   The Kirtland’s warbler, an endangered Michigan songbird, no longer 

needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

That’s according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The bird was among the first animals in the U.S. to be listed at risk of extinction. 

Warblers only nest in young jack pine trees found in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario. 

In 1974 there were 167 breeding pairs left. Today, that number is estimated at over 2,300. 

Dan Kennedy is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   There are big changes ahead for the Law School Admission Test, thanks to a lawsuit filed by a Michigan man.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state House has adopted a bill to settle a controversy on what licensed mental health counselors are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta says cheers erupted from a packed gallery to celebrate the House action. The bill would circumvent proposed rule changes. Licensed counselors say the proposed changes would put thousands of them out of business. And they say it would rupture a mental health system that relies on them, in part because there’s a shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   If you think you’re paying too much for your prescription drugs – Democratic lawmakers in Lansing agree. 

Some House Democrats have introduced bills aimed at making medical care more affordable.

Lower copays, expansion of what must be covered by insurance, and more protections for consumers are some of the key areas bills in a new legislative package would tackle.

Democratic Representative Jon Hoadley is a bill sponsor.

“At the end of the day, this is about making sure that we’re putting Michigan health and our safety over profits.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer continues to defend line item vetoes in budgets she otherwise approved last week. 

She also says it’s not too late to restore some of the spending.

Cuts to human services as well as the Pure Michigan tourism promotion program are unpopular with Republicans and Democrats alike. The governor says her calls were tough, but necessary. She also says she’d prefer a more bipartisan approach.

“I think this is an unprecedented time. It’s unfortunate. It’s not good for anyone, to be honest.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed all of the state’s budgets for the new spending year – and used up a lot of red ink in the process.

Governor Whitmer says she had to make the 147 line-item vetoes to protect Michigan residents. In a recorded statement on Instagram, Whitmer said the budgets sent to her by the Republican controlled Legislature were, “Built on phony numbers, using funds in the wrong way, usurping executive power. These are important things that I had to eliminate from these budgets.”

Whitmer to announce budget plans

Sep 30, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign budget bills Monday and avert a partial shutdown of state government at midnight. 

But Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta says it’s not “game over” for the governor’s request for more money to fix roads.

Congressional Dems say Trump forced their hand

Sep 25, 2019

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Congressional Democrats who had resisted pursing impeachment proceedings against President Trump say they now strongly support Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call to open a formal inquiry. 

As WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter reports, Democrats say Trump’s politically-tinged discussion with the President of Ukraine has forced their hand.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the budgets on their way to her desk are “a mess.”

The state Legislature voted out the rest of the state budgets Tuesday. It passed the School Aid budget last week, though Whitmer has said she hasn’t received it yet. It can take several days for the clerk’s office to proofread and prepare bills for the governor.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The slow roll toward a partial state government shutdown continues in Lansing.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican leaders aren’t talking.  And both sides say the other side is at fault.

Republicans say they won’t vote for the governor’s proposed gas tax increase. They say they will start sending her budget bills this week with or without a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he’s ready to negotiate until the last moment, but it’s up to Governor Whitmer to call the meeting.